Search Results for: label/Soft Surroundings

Ask Allie: Boho Chic with a Bust

I would love to add a more boho vibe to my closet but I’m feeling so stumped where to shop- especially given that I’m carrying some additional weight & am big busted naturally. I admire Free People but I’m at serious risk of dislocating joints trying to get in and out of their sizes and I’ve got lingerie more modest than some of their stuff. 😉 Do you have some suggestions on where to shop and/or other bloggers to follow?

how to achieve boho chic with a bust and curves

Oh how I can relate! Especially once the weather warms, my inner Steve Nicks wants to come out and play in floaty layers and vintage-inspired prints. Thing is, many of the popular brands that carry on-trend boho-inspired fashion don’t carry larger sizes and often are not modest enough for everyday wear (let alone cover a supportive bra).

Continue your Admiration and Use it as Inspiration

I too love Free People, and occasionally I do find pieces that fit, but mainly I use the brand as inspiration. I see how they combine prints, note the length of the skirt, the length of the vest, how they’re showing a cold shoulder or a certain type of fabric and look elsewhere to get that same effect. The key to successful boho is to keep it current. Free People really gets this right, knowing to combine a full peasant skirt with a top that is lean, to have sexiness from a bit of back or shoulder instead of full-on cleavage, to have everything a bit slouchy versus baggy or droopy, to always have some modern touch that lets you know this isn’t from the Salvation Army and it is not 1969.

I’m not the biggest Pinterest fan because it can quickly become a timesuck of no-bake cookie recipes and how to make things you don’t need from pallets or popsicle sticks but it is really good for its original purpose – to create inspiration boards. By seeing everything in one place it’s easier to see the details that make boho successful and those details you can bring into your own wardrobe.

One note when pinning – before you pin, ask WHY the picture resonates with you. Is it the beautiful lighting through the model’s hair, or is it the drape of her dress? We can often get caught up in the beauty of a picture and when you’re pinning to build your own wardrobe, such photos may not help in the long run. Such pictures evoke a feeling and create a mood, but in the long run, especially if you don’t look like that model or live a life like the picture, those pictures may make you feel such style is even further from your grasp. I often make my inspiration boards private so they can be less “pretty” but more functional for my life and my wardrobe.

Go for Accent Pieces

boho accessories

Band of Gypsies Kimono, Kendra Scott Necklace, Steve Madden Bag, Capelli of New York Kimono

The boho vibe is all about the details. A simple black dress can go from preppy to punk, classic to crunchy with a quick change of accessories. A fringed kimono, chunky turquoise rings, leather gladiator sandals, wrist of silver bangles, a suede fringed bag… pieces like this can take simpler garments and make them boho chic in an instant.

Accent garments can often be purchased from retailers who may not normally fit your figure or your budget and give the right vibe to your existing wardrobe. Last summer I had a fringed kimono jacket from MINKPINK and wore it often with denim cutoff shorts, Birkenstocks, a white ribbed tank and a bunch of bracelets. The shorts were from Target, the tank J. Jill, but the kimono made the whole thing looks boho and pulled together.

Shop Spring and Summer

Right now is festival season, and every retailer jumps on the bandwagon offering their most hippified pieces, usually styled with a fringe bag and some beaded bracelets. Seriously, your favorite retailer for corporate suits or formalwear come May will be showing crocheted vests, turquoise rings, and peasant skirts. Take advantage of the trend and stock up on boho chic while it’s hot.

Go Outside your Retail Comfort Zone

soft surroundings

Soft Surroundings Country Weekend Sweater, La Paz Dress, Boho Beach Dress, Terrific Tencel Duster

I’m going to tell you a little secret about where I find my boho clothes – Soft Surroundings. Their target market may be older than you and seem to all have lanais to relax on but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some really beautiful (and well made) boho pieces. Use your inspiration as a guide and look past the caftans and shark bite tunics and see what may be just as lovely as Free People. I have a few skirts from Soft Surroundings that I’ll pair with a cut-up band tee or fitted ribbed tank to give them a modern boho vibe. See the pieces as separates instead of ensembles and use your inspiration for styling tips.

eileen fisher

Eileen Fisher Short Sleeve V-neck Maxi, Silk Jumpsuit, Chain Print Sleeveless Jumpsuit, Ikat Square Neck Crop Shell

Eileen Fisher is another brand you may not connect to boho, but pieces on their own can be quite chic and fun. Be sure to check out their collection The Fisher Project, which has some really unique silhouettes and modern ideas.  Again, take all preconceived notions out of your head and shop not seeing the model or the styling of the photo but the actual garment.


Modcloth Rooftop Balcony Jumpsuit, Ink Positively Dress, My Antique Fair Lady Dress, Raise the Barbados Dress

Modcloth is known for adorkable cutesy frocks, but they also have a pretty big boho selection. Much is cheap and not everything comes in a decent range of sizes, but if you’re a careful shopper and willing to scroll, you can find some fab pieces at fab prices.


ASOS Gypsy Midi Dress, Fringe Dress, Halterneck Crochet Maxi, First & I Paisley Dress

ASOS is one of my favorite summer fashion destinations. While they have their in-house line, they also carry other brands for a real variety of styles, prices, and sizes. They do trends well, and there’s plenty of boho styles to choose from, many in plus, petite, and tall sizes.

boho style with a bust

Sun & Shadow Handkerchief Hem Dress, City Chic ‘Festival Border’ Dress, NIC + ZOE Fringe Cardigan, Hinge Lace Trim Maxi Dress

Department stores are a surprisingly great place for boho chic. While a brand may not be known for boho, they may have a piece or two that give the vibe you desire. I’ve found Tart, Karen Kane, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Topshop, and Sanctuary all have great boho pieces within their collections that come in a broader range of sizes and can accommodate a larger bust and a bra.

Boho Bloggers with Curves

As for blogs, I’d love to hear from you readers. I know many of you love the boho trend, and I bet you know many bloggers who rock this trend.  Who is your favorite?

Shop the Post:

Boot Scootin’

Shirt: Gap | Skirt: c/o Soft Surroundings | Boots: DUO | Bracelets: c/o lifetherapy, c/o Soft Surroundings, made by fellow Inforooster | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Another day that started with rain. Too hot for tall boots and skinny jeans, so I decided to whip out my festie boots. I bought these from DUO Boots in 2007 and I still adore them, though now they have become more of bum around boots. They have gone to a few Bonnaroos, parties in the parking lot at several concerts at Merriweather, went with me to Forecastle fest and are often the boots I slip on when going out in the yard to hang laundry or play with Emerson. Not really typical work footwear, but it’s Friday and they’re pretty well hidden under this skirt and will keep my feet dry as I stomp through puddles!

Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the crazy holiday season and crazy beginning of 2013 but I am craving a vacation right about now and yesterday I got a fabulous care package from Lifetherapy with some products from their “Vacation” line.  This morning’s shower was with the Vacation body wash and then I used the Vacation lotion and added the matching Pulse Point Oil Roll-on Perfume to my wrists and behind my ears. It’s a warm but feminine blend that smells a bit like vanilla, a bit like sandalwood, a bit like coconut, and makes me want to sip a fruity drink while under the shade of a palm tree on a beach.  It’s one of those fragrances that works when you get hot and sweaty – some fragrances smell too strong or too wrong in the heat of summer, but this one just seems to get more… mature and right.  I liked it when I put it on but it felt a bit too girly for me (I usually wear Burberry London perfume and Neutrogena Body Oil for moisturizer), but by time I got to the office I was quite the fan, and I love the travel-friendly perfume oil bottle!

Can I just say I wish Ray-Ban made more of the fun versions of their aviators in the 62mm size for us big-headed folks?  I want the fun green lenses, but they’re only in the normal-headed size.  However, I did find the all-black ones on eBay for a sweet price and just got my email yesterday that they have shipped out.  Can’t wait for them to arrive!  This is my biggest tip for designer sunglasses – if you know the model number, the size and details check eBay to see if you can find them for less.  There may be some sketchy folks on there, but there’s also a lot of companies that sell overstock or old styles on there for really good prices and some people who are just selling things they no longer want that are in almost-new condition.

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Friday: Working for the Weekend

Shirt: Lands’ End Canvas
Jeans: Jag (similar)
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, c/o Soft Surroundings
Shoes: Halogen (similar)
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
Bag: Banana Republic (similar)

I really should have had my husband get a shot of my travel mug – it’s for Saturn of Bowie.  My dad got it when he bought his 1994 Saturn, which I inherited when he passed in 1998 and drove into the ground until 2002 or so when I took over the loan on my mom’s ’99 Saturn, which I drove into the ground and replaced this past Easter with my Kia Soul.  The more I have the Kia, the more I like it.  I no longer feel like a hamster in a track suit – it’s great for carrying a ton of stuff, is good on gas (went to SC, KY, and DE with us this summer), and is roomy and comfortable.  And it’s my first non-inherited car!

This week has been busy. So busy, I haven’t done laundry in quite a while. I started trying to pull together fancy-shmancy outfits, thought maybe I’d go all kitchen sink today… but then realized I just want to get through today so I can enjoy the weekend. So I went to closet basics.

Last night I went back to Weight Watchers… for the first time in three months! Ack! We’re doing a wellness challenge at work so I figured it was time to get back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon. I was surprised I only gained 1.6 pounds in the past three months but no gain is a good gain. We’re moving offices soon and I am excited because the new one has a gym in it – a few of my coworkers and I have already decided to make good use of it, coming in early a couple days or using our lunch hours when we don’t have client meetings later in the afternoon.

Tomorrow we’re going to see Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket at Merriweather and I couldn’t be more psyched. Favorite band, and also get to spend time with some of my favorite people! What are your weekend plans?

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Tuesday: Hard and Soft

TeeOld Navy
Skirt Ann Taylor
Necklace and Ring – c/o Kristin Biggs, Stella and Dot

I always love the mix of high-end with street, fancy with casual, tough with feminine. While this skirt could easily be paired with something delicate and fancy for a formal occasion, wearing it with a heather gray tee shirt is more my style. Speaking of this tee, this is not the same one I am wearing here – today’s is more of a true gray while the other is blue. Such a fan, I went back and bought this old Navy tee in white, a dark pink, and classic heather gray!

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Swimsuit Review: Looking to Flatter my Large Bust and Soft Curves

It’s the time of year for buying swimsuits. Last year I decided to make do with what I had – my Lands’ End paisley bikini and a turquoise halter one-piece that was gifted to me eons ago that is showing its wear.

Bad move, Allie.

While the bikini wasn’t bad, my body has changed over the years and it’s just not as cute as it was. And while I’m all about a fun and colorful bathing suit, I just don’t think my personal style is pink paisley. I’m all about rocking a fatkini and wearing what you like no matter your shape or size, but as a 41 year old woman who had a baby, nursed that baby for over two years, and doesn’t consider the gym her home away from home I don’t feel comfortable without a bit of support and suckage. Before stock is depleted and I end up buying out of desperation instead of getting what I want, I started ordering from a few places that have brands that cater to large busts and soft curves.  I’m sharing photos of me in these suits, be kind and forgive me for a messy closet!


I first headed to Nordstrom because I had a $20 Nordstrom Note that was burning a hole in my wallet and I know I can take my time trying and return shipping is free.  It’s nice to have time to try it, then try it again a week later when you’re in a better mood or you’re less bloated or you now have a cute coverup to match it with.

Magicsuit® ‘Harper’ Wrap Effect One-Piece

Magicsuit 'Harper' Wrap Effect One-PieceEmerson is turning into a fish and I need a one-piece to keep up with her. I’d also like a suit that can do a few laps while looking sassy. The Harper from Magicsuit has underwire support and tummy-control plus some strategic wrapping to whittle the waist. I liked that the straps looked thinner which made it appear less matronly, and I liked that those straps were adjustable. Available in Emerald and Guava at the time of order, I went with the green. It said to order a size up so I got a 16 against my better judgement.  As an FYI, the links are not for Nordstrom but instead Zappos because the suit currently sold out.

This bathing suit looks like the bathing suit that all overweight moms across America wear to the local pool. The gathered fabric only added bulk, the underwires didn’t do much to support and only made my large bust look super droopy and deflated. The top at the bust kept flipping over exposing the nude colored lining. It was also too long in the torso; most hid in the front with the gathers but the back looked especially obvious and the seat didn’t fit well. I think a 14 would have been better for fit but this bathing suit wasn’t anything to write home about (especially considering it’s $160 at Nordstrom and $156 at Zappos) so back in the box it went.

Miraclesuit® ‘Basic’ Swim Briefs (shown with Freya ‘Pier’ Halter Swim Top)

Miraclesuit 'Basic' Swim Briefs shown with Freya 'Pier' Halter Swim TopI already own the Freya Pier Halter Swim Top (36F) and I love it. It’s cute, but not twee, it fits great, and it makes my bust look amazing. I’ve worn it with a Lands’ End bottom in a deep purple but that bottom never fit well. I figured if all the other bathing suits didn’t work at least I could rock this simple black bottom with the top I already own. I ordered the Miraclesuit ‘Basic’ Swim Briefs in a 14.

This swim bottom is… fine. I think a 12 would have cut into my legs too much. However, because I am petite this is too high waisted to the point that the waistband keeps folding over when I move. But it does smooth the belly without looking weird, it’s not too tight, it doesn’t have matronly legholes but not so high-cut things are falling out. It’s a good basic bottom for those who have found a great top elsewhere (and are also over 5’4″).

Bare Necessities

Bare Necessities is my favorite place on the Internet for underpinnings and swimwear. With an extensive size range and selection and plenty of promo codes, it’s usually the first place I go for bras, shapewear, and swimsuits. The customer reviews are truly helpful and they have swimwear brands that not only come in cup size, but specialize in larger busts.  I actually found more suits than I had money to try; these are the ones I ordered:

Fantasie Tie-Side Boyshort Swim Bottom and Balconette Swim Top in Kuranda/Jungle

Fantasie Tie-Side Boyshort Swim Bottom and Balconette Swim Top in KurandaI ordered the bottom in L and the top in 36F and it was a perfect fit. Emerson didn’t like this suit, but Karl’s eyes popped out when he saw it. It’s fun, it’s sassy, it’s sexy, it’s age appropriate without being frumpy. I liked the shape of the swim bottom – high enough to hold in my tummy but not so high it looks weird. The side ties made a lower rise leg opening look stylish. The top fit like a bra: it was supportive, it separated, and it held everything in place as I jumped around and pretended to be bodysurfing on my bed. Thing is… I don’t NEED this suit. I have the dotted bikini top, what I really need is a suit (one or two-piece) that is more durable and appropriate for swim lessons and laps at the indoor pool. So it’s back in the box but if I suddenly had a tropical vacation on the books or won the lottery I’d reorder this set.

Fantasie San Marino Swimsuit

Fantasie San Marino SwimsuitI ordered a 38F. I am not sure why I ordered a 38 instead of a 36. This bathing suit was too big. It was too long, the straps in these photos were shortened as much as possible, and the underwire did absolutely nothing to support or flatter my bust. Also the color did nothing for me. Maybe if it was a different print and maybe if I went with a smaller size but I fear it would still be too long in the torso and make my breasts look older and saggier than they already are.

Fantasie Deep Gathered Brief Bottom and Balconette Swim Top in Bora Bora/Amethyst Rose

Fantasie Deep Gathered Brief Bottom and Balconette Swim Top in Bora Bora Amethyst RoseAgain I ordered the bottom in L and the top in 36F. While the top has the same name as the jungle-print one, this one has molded cups. The bottom was a simple traditional brief without a lot of frou-frou (I don’t know if it’s my size but I didn’t see a lot of gathering going on). In theory, with these details I should have loved this suit. I wear molded cup bras and I like bathing suits without gadgets and frills.  I also love this color.  But it just didn’t excite me.  With a bust of my size and my short stature this molded cup type of top overwhelmed me and made me feel like they were too big, too pronounced, too lifted, and solid like a suit of armor.  However, this bikini top surely did lift and support!

Pour Moi Splash Control Brief Swim Bottom

Eh, it was $29, and though it had a couple ruffles on each hip it was pretty basic and it was black and I figured I could wear it with my Freya bikini top.  There are no pictures because this bottom was so ill-fitting I immediately pulled it off and threw it across the room.  These are the kinds of bathing suit pieces that make women hate their bodies.  I ordered a UK 18 (US 12, but the measurements matched me).  The fabric was stiff, the elastic hard and hurt.  It cut into my rear, cut where my legs join my body, dipped so low in the front when I bent over my belly spilled over the top, yet in the back it folded over because it was so high.  I’m glad it was the last piece I tried on; if it was the first I may have given up and not even tried the other pieces, it was so awful.

I may have reviewed some pretty expensive bathing suits in this post, but this is something that is make or break when it comes to confidence at the pool, the beach, or even the sprinkler in your backyard.  When you wear something that fits and flatters, your posture improves and you walk differently.  Also, if you purchase quality and something that is good to your body, you’re likely to wear it more often and it’s likely to last more than a season, reducing the cost per wear.  Heck, the Lands’ End bikini I am replacing cost me over $100, but is three years old and still in perfect condition.  It is me that has changed, not the suit.  If the suit doesn’t look halfway decent, don’t blame your body, blame the jerk designers who don’t care that most women have figures that don’t look or feel as firm as mannequins.  Spend on bras and bathing suits, these two wardrobe items are worth it more than any designer bag, drool-worthy boots, or elegant coat.  Your body, and your heart will thank you.  And this summer, get out there!  Have fun in the sun, YOU DESERVE IT! YOUR BODY DESERVES IT!

Swimwear for Large Busts and Soft Bellies

Wardrobe Oxygen: Swimwear for Large Busts and Soft BelliesAround this time of year, I am bombarded with reader questions on where to find swimwear to flatter their body. While one can find a triangle bikini anywhere from Walmart to Saks, it’s harder to find swimwear for a woman with curves. As a woman with a large bust and a soft tummy, I have a few recommendations for bathing suits that control the midsection and/or support and properly cover a large chest.

Wardrobe Oxygen: Swimwear for Large Busts and Soft Bellies

Aerin Rose
Aerin Rose was kind enough to send me their “Butterfly 335” suit for review and I have to say I am highly impressed. Not only are these swimsuits sized like bras (cup-sizes B through G and band sizes 32 through 44), but they also have shirred tummy control bodices to whittle the waistline. My tummy looked firm while I felt comfortable, and my breasts were well covered and supported in the flattering halter top. Learn more about Aerin Rose on their Facebook page and shop for their bra-sized swimwear here.

Wardrobe Oxygen: Swimwear for Large Busts and Soft Bellies

I wrote about Swimspot here, and I still agree that Swimspot offers attractive swimwear for large busts. They have fit specialists who will work with you to find the perfect suit for your specific figure. When I worked with them last year, they suggested the Athena Maldives Halter One-Piece for me; I still find it flattering, supportive, and sexy while properly covering and containing my bust and smoothing my middle. All Athena swimsuits have a Slim-Power lining to smooth the tummy, and their Support Group line offers sizes 32D – 38FFG. They also carry Next Swimwear which is a brand for the woman who has a larger bust and desires support during water activities – their Stand Up top has floating underwires and a racer back to keep your bust in place while surfing, swimming, or taking part in any other water activity.

Wardrobe Oxygen: Swimwear for Large Busts and Soft Bellies

Lands’ End
You didn’t expect me to write a post about swimwear and not mention Lands’ End, did you? Lands’ End offer suits up to a DDD cup and I have found them to truly be supportive. Their fabulous Beach Living swimsuit collection has many tops and suits made for large busts including bikini tops.

Lands’ End also has Slender Suits which slim the middle without binding. Their Sweetheart One-Piece Slender Suit is elegant, classic, has soft cups to support the bust, and Slendertex® fabric to control the midsection.

Wardrobe Oxygen: Swimwear for Large Busts and Soft Bellies

To use SPANX‘s word, Bra-llelujah, they now carry swimwear! This is a perfect fit for SPANX, who has already mastered not only control garments, but supportive yet comfortable bras. Their Bra-llelujah! ® One-Piece is a classic style with underwire cups and adjustable straps – not only does is come in bra sizes (up to 18 D/DD) to properly support the bust, it also sucks in the tummy with the power of SPANX. Their Blue Nile suit is feminine, flirty, and comes in sizes up to a 16D/DD with all the control you’d expect from the brand.

Bare Necessities
Bare Necessities is one of the sites I go to for control garments and bras to fit my large bust, it’s also a site I turn to when looking for swimwear. Many of the lingerie brands that cater to curves also carry swimwear (Freya, Fantasie, Chantelle) and Bare Necessities carries them.

As for tummy control, Bare Necessities carries the classics like Miraclesuit® and Magicsuit®, they also carry control swimwear from Amoressa and Roxanne.

Cacique is a great resource for larger sizes of bras, and they are also a great resource for larger sizes of swimwear, offering styles up to an H cup. Cacique carries one-piece styles, separates, and also Miraclesuit® for control swimwear.

My Personal Swimwear Tips:
  • Skirts emphasize, they don’t hide. Skirts on swimsuits work in the same manner as a tunic or muumuu – they may cover, but they don’t fool anyone. A skirt is a great choice for modesty or a retro feel, but you’d do better with strategic shirring or a flattering leg opening to make your body look not only smaller but also younger.
  • Buy a size smaller than what you wear in clothes. Unless otherwise specified (Miraclesuit® often has specific fit tips, always read customer reviews), bathing suits stretch. What seems to be a great fit when dry can end up with a saggy rear and exposed busom come a dip in the pool.
  • Buy a cup size larger than necessary. Unless it is underwire and bra-styled, going up a cup size will give you additional coverage. When I was a D cup, I would always buy the DD cup style from J. Crew – it still fit great, but gave me a bit more security under the arms and between the breasts.
  • Don’t machine wash your swimwear. Not only are you dealing with a delicate synthetic fabric full of Lycra and compression materials, it is a fabric being beaten with salt, chlorine, sand, and concrete. Baby your swimsuit and it will keep its shape, elasticity, color, and fit for more than a season. Products like Summer Solutions will extend the life of your suit and remove everything from chlorine to sunscreen without fading or residue.

Where do you like to shop for swimwear?  What swimsuit brands have you found that flatter, support, and control curves?

Note: I did receive free product from No Show Active Top and Aerin Rose, but the choice to write this post is my own and all options are also my own.

Swimsuit Review: More Suits for a Large Bust and Soft Belly

In the last swimsuit review post I ended seeming as though I didn’t find anything good. And then last weekend we took a trip to Rehoboth Beach and I knew I’d be spending time in an indoor pool and I was still without a suit so I kept the green tropical bikini. It was really my favorite, and I still loved it as I swam a couple laps, did handstands, and played ball with Emerson. But I still would like something with a bit more coverage for active days at the outdoor pool so I returned what didn’t work and ordered some more. The results:


Since my last order, they had more suits available in my size so I figured I’d try some out.  Nordstrom’s free shipping and returns makes it so easy, I hope they continue to expand their swimwear selections, there’s nothing better than being able to try swimsuits at home, in your room, away from fluorescent lights, pushy salespeople, and fitting rooms that smell like Fritos.

Miraclesuit ‘Ansonia’ Mesh Inset One-Piece Swimsuit in White

wardrobe oxygen swimsuit review miraclesuitThe seaming below and gathers at the bust gave me hope that this suit could possibly work. Maybe I’d feel like a Bond Girl in this awesome one-piece.  I also ordered this in a 14.


Yeah, I need suits that are by cup size. This was also short in the torso, if I hiked it up to have the seam in the right place for the bust, I gave myself a front and back wedgie. This would be a darn sexy suit for a slimmer, smaller busted woman who just wanted a bit of tummy control to refine her shape.

Miraclesuit Front Zip One-Piece Swimsuit in Charcoal Black

PicMonkey CollageI ordered a 14. This suit (and a few others below) is proof as to why I need a bathing suit with bra sizing. If you follow me on Snapchat (I’m wardrobeoxygen) you may have caught my rant about Miraclesuits. How can a 5’3” short-waisted woman find a size 14 one-piece too short in the torso? Boobs. Seems as though Miraclesuit forgot that women with bellies may also have breasts. I think with a smaller bust both of these suits would have fit.

MICHAEL Michael Kors ‘Draped Solids’ Bandeau One-Piece Swimsuit in Black

PicMonkey CollageI ordered a 14. I figured what the heck, why not?  I should have known.  This was a huge major colossal fail. The suit has no structure, it’s one layer of traditional nylon spandex with a bit of lining in certain spots. However, I think if one was younger and firmer this would be a really gorgeous suit.

Lands’ End

Lands’ End has always been one of my go-tos for swimwear, but I was hoping to steer clear of them this year because of their debacle with Gloria Steinem. But Lands’ End makes clothing and swimwear for a broad range of sizes and shapes, the price is good for the excellent quality, and I have owned Lands’ End suits before and know they work for my shape. I also know that I need a bra-sized suit, I don’t need a bikini, and one-pieces are often too long in the torso so I went with their tankini pieces.

Before ordering from Lands’ End, check sites like Retail Me Not to see if there are any promos going on. Lately there’s been plenty of codes to get 30-40% off and most include swimwear.

Lands’ End Beach Living Adjustable Top and High Waist Control Bottom in Deep Sea

lands end beach living tankini wardrobe oxygenI ordered the top in 14 DDD cup, and the bottom in a 14. I like a suit with color, but I just didn’t feel me wearing a purple or pink swimsuit with a big bow in the front so I went with Deep Sea (navy).

The control bottom sucked me in, but it gave me muffin top. The top had underwire but if I had the underwire truly under my breasts and not an inch lower, I’d have the cups end up near my chin. No adjustment of the bow or the straps could get placement right, but even so the suit gave more support and separation than one without underwire and I had enough fabric to not be spilling out. The top though was perfect in the torso – not too tight but not too loose. I think with a different bottom it would have been more flattering.

But this suit is a whole lot of meh. It reminded me of the green one-piece in the previous post. It’s fine. It’s okay.  I wouldn’t look twice at a woman wearing it at the pool or beach.  It’s what most women my age and size wear because it fits and it sucks to try on swimsuits and it gets the job done without more agony at the full-length mirror. I just can’t justify spending $100 (that is if there’s not a Lands’ End promo going on) for meh.

Lands’ End Beach Living Adjustable Top in Black Horizon

Lands End Beach Living Adjustable Tankini - Wardrobe OxygenGoing through the clearance section at Lands’ End I found this black and white striped top in DDD cup 14 and ordered it since it was on sale for $35.99. Here it is featured with the Miraclesuit bottom I reviewed in this post.

I have no idea why this top fits better than the navy one but it does. The cups align better, neckline looks nicer. I know it lays better on the torso because of the different bottom I paired it with. Totally shows the power of getting the right bottom for your specific body! Thanks to my promo code and it being on clearance, this top only cost me $22. I plan on keeping it, it’s perfect for playing at the community pool with Emerson.  Of course I’d end up with a suit that has stripes!

Bare Necessities

I already raved about Bare Necessities’ selection for bra-sized swimwear. Based on my last order, I ordered two more things from them:

Freya Sagittarius Halter Swimsuit

PicMonkey CollageI didn’t order this the first go-round because I’ve had halter swimsuits before and while they make a large bust look amazing, after a day at the pool your neck ends up sore from holding up your breasts. But this is Freya, Freya rocks, and I could order it in a cup size so likely the rest of the suit would be designed to help keep my breasts lifted. I ordered a 36E.

I am too short for this swimsuit. While it doesn’t look bad from the front or side, in the back you can see how it just doesn’t fit, and that issue affects the whole bust area. There’s a backstrap, which should help with the breast support, but because I am short in the torso, it can’t lie in the right place and ends up all squished down which pushes up the front, which makes my breasts lie funny in the cups which causes me to tighten the halter straps which puts more strain on my neck…

This is a cute suit if you have a longer torso or are taller. The top is made so it can support a large bust but also flatter and enhance a smaller one. And the dots are gold foil, the fabric is really nice, this suit feels and looks expensive. You can easily rock it at the pool, but gosh it would be fabulous on a tropical vacation with a big sunhat, the dots gleaming in the sun, a frozen cocktail in your hand. If you buy it, email me a picture of you wearing it and being utterly fabulous, dahlink!

Fantasie Versailles Bikini Swim Bottom in Black (shown with Freya ‘Pier’ Halter Swim Top)

PicMonkey CollageI really like the fit of the Fantasie Kuranda swim bottom and thought this bottom would essentially be the same thing but in black.  Newp. No. No way. Nuh-uh. It does have a more adjustable side, you can see in the side view I cinched it tighter for a smaller side, but it is a stretchier, thinner fabric and a lower-rise style.  When I bent over it rolled down even lower and I spilled over the waistband.  I know my strengths and love to highlight them; my lower abdomen is a part I prefer to keep covered.

Final Result?

Fantasie Tie-Side Boyshort Swim Bottom and Balconette Swim Top in KurandaI may still look for a better black control swimsuit bottom to go with the Lands’ End top, but otherwise I feel ready for summer.  I have the Fantasie Kuranda Balconette Top and Boyshort Bottom as my sassy sunning and funning swimsuit, and my Lands’ End Beach Living striped tankini top to wear for playing in the ocean or pool with Emerson and being more active.  I’m ready to have fun in the sun!

What I Wore: Cause for Celebration

myhabit silk maxi dress myhabit silk wrap maxi dress

Dress: Melissa Masse via MYHABIT (no longer available, more from the brand) | Shoes: SoftSpots (similar) | Bracelet: Had Forever (similar)

What do you wear to an outdoor wedding taking place during a public music festival when it’s hot as the dickens, so humid the air feels like pea soup, and there’s a strong chance for thunderstorms?  Oh let me add I am the wife of the photographer so while I am a guest and enjoying the event with Emerson at a moment’s notice I may be crawling under tables or running across the town square to assist Karl?

I chose this stretch silk maxi, a recent MYHABIT purchase.  With my referral credit (if you click on the links for MYHABIT in this post and sign up I get a $20 credit and then you can do the same with your friends) I was able to get this for around $40.  The dress has a built-in snap to keep the neckline modest, a self-belt, and pockets. With the heat and humidity, too much jewelry would be annoying so I stuck with my trusty sterling cuff.  Makeup was simple, relying on liquid liner, waterproof mascara, and Revlon’s Lacquer Balm in Vivacious for a pop of color to match the dress print.  Since I knew I’d get sweaty as soon as I walked out the front door of my house, as mentioned in my Friday Favorite post, I pinned back one side with a clip and sprayed with Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray and tried to not touch it.

The dress was perfect, it didn’t cling, it looked festive, didn’t show sweat stains, dried quickly, and the pockets made it so I could go without a purse (I totally was in Mom Mode though and safety pinned my pocket containing wallet-like things shut).  This was a total impulse purchase but I know it will get a ton of wear this summer!

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As for the wedding, it was magical.  The couple are talented musicians who host this music festival every spring.  Having their ceremony during it made so much sense, and it was awesome as a long-time resident of Greenbelt to see friends say I do in front of the historic Mother and Child statue. It was the first wedding in Roosevelt Center!  They sang during the ceremony and our friend Amethyst (featured in my True Fashionista series) was the officiant.  Their reception was in the New Deal Cafe, a restaurant and music venue in the town square, but they also had The New Deal cater a buffet meal for the entire community!  Tents were set up and neighbors brought baked goods and bands performed way into the evening as the entire town of Greenbelt celebrated their union.  Such a special day!

Tuesday: Keeping Cool

Dress: c/o Soft Surroundings
Necklace: Ann Taylor (similar)
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, c/o Soft Surroundings
Shoes: Born “Myndy”
Bag: Boutique in Rehoboth Beach (similar)

This week is going to be a scorcher in DC, and I am looking to stay as cool as possible while looking appropriate at the office. This dress from Soft Surroundings is 100% linen so it is breezy and comfortable. I took this dress on my vacation and wore it to the zoo in Columbia, SC on a very hot day and felt breezy and cool. I usually shy from linen because it does end up looking so crinkled and wrinkled, but with this weather I don’t care and embracing my rumpled side!

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Wednesday: Hippie Chick

Shirt: Target (similar)
Skirt: c/o Soft Surroundings
Shoes: Softspots
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, c/o Soft Surroundings
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
Earrings: c/o Ann Taylor

Some days, the hippie chick inside me just begs to come out.  I usually let her shine on weekends, but felt that pairing this skirt with a chambray shirt instead of a simple tank made it fit into the office (especially where I work).  On weekends, you’d likely see me in this skirt with a simple black ribbed tank and my hair in a messy updo.

Emerson still loves frozen waffles – we fed them to her when she was teething and she has never stopped loving them.  While I personally find them disgusting, it does make for quick and easy meals and snacks… and silly poses for photos!

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Thursday: Going Old School

Shirt: Target (similar)
Jeans: Gap
Shoes: Ivanka Trump
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, c/o Soft Surroundings
Earrings: Filene’s Basement (similar)
Bag: Sabina (similar)

My company moved offices a couple weeks ago and one of the many perks of our new location is a modern bathroom… with a full-length mirror! I had to be at work at 7am this morning so no fancy photos from my husband. Figured I might as well take advantage of an empty bathroom with good lighting!

If you can’t tell, I woke up and thought it was Friday. I knew I had a lunch to celebrate a coworker’s pregnancy, and somehow that got me in a Friday denim frame of mind. Good thing I didn’t have any client meetings on the books today!

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Friday: Sensing a Trend

Dress: Vince Camuto
Necklace: eBay (similar)
Shoes: Franco Sarto (similar)
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, JewelMint, c/o Soft Surroundings

I guess this is the week of the leopard shoe! Other than yesterday, I wore a good portion of my animal-print collection. All that’s left are my Mary Janes and flats!

Any exciting plans for the weekend? Tomorrow my husband is shooting a wedding and I’m going as assistant. No other plans are concrete and I couldn’t be happier. I need to return a jacket to Old Navy and I know a few friends are having parties and cookouts, but really all is left up in the air and I would be perfectly content spending a lot just relaxing at home with the family.

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Monday: SuperBright

Top: Ann Taylor
Cropped Jeans: c/o Lisa Holt, CAbi consultant
Bracelets: Nordstrom, c/o Soft Surroundings, Lauren Ralph Lauren
Leopard Pumps: Ivanka Trump
Leather Clutch: HOBO (similar)

I just got this top Friday and can see myself wearing it in so many ways. It’s matte jersey with a double-layer front and was on sale at Ann Taylor. Matte jersey is great for travel as it doesn’t wrinkle and dries quickly; this would look great under a suit, with a flippy skirt, a maxi skirt, and work trousers. Today I felt like I needed more than a pop of color so I decided to pair with neon cropped jeans. Black shoes seemed too harsh, nude shoes looked goofy, so I went with my favorite neutral – leopard. Go hard or go home, right?

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Wednesday: Coral on Coral

Tee: Ann Taylor (similar, last seen here)
Skirt: Ann Taylor (similar, last seen here)
Shoes: Nine West (similar)
Bracelets: Nordstrom, c/o Soft Surroundings
Lipstick: Revlon Lip Butter in Cherry Tart

I guess it pays to shop a lot at the same retailer! This outfit came together by chance – my husband did laundry and hung this tee up instead of folding in the drawer. When on the rail next to this skirt, I realized they were the same coral, just different intensities. When in my drawer, I always saw it more as a red shirt and wore it as such. Since they are both Ann Taylor, it makes sense that they are the same tone!

I have become a bit of a form of entertainment in the court each morning with these photos – Emerson and her friend wanted to join in the fun and who could say no to such cuties?

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Thursday – Unplanned Patriotism

Jacket – Caslon (similar)
Tee – LOFT (similar)
Pants – Ann Taylor (similar)
Pumps MICHAEL Michael Kors “Flex”
Bracelet – c/o t+j Designs, Nordstrom (this and this), c/o Soft Surroundings
Bag – Brahmin (similar)

I planned to stick to a simple color palette of black, white, and red but then remembered I had a few things to take into work so I needed a larger purse. I thought the Brahmin would be fun, another color added to the mix. Not until Karl took my pictures and said, “It’s not yet July 4th” did I realize that adding this bag made me look quite patriotic. Well, nothing wrong with that!

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Saturday – Casual Nautical

Blazer – Caslon (similar)
Tank – H&M (similar)
Jeans – JAG (similar)
ShoesSofft “Pavia”
Bag – Forever 21 (similar)
Bracelets -Nordstrom (this, and this), c/o Soft Surroundings

Saturday morning I went to the Westfield Montgomery Mall to learn more about their Style Lounge.  My sister hung out with Emerson so my husband could go with me, capture a few pictures, and then we could get lunch at California Pizza Kitchen (one of our fave places).  Since he had his camera on him, he snapped these pictures of what I was wearing.  Very simple, a lot of my wardrobe staples all pulled into one ensemble!

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Beating the Heat

Cardigan: Another Line (similar) | Dress: LOFT | Belt: Anthropologie (similar) | Shoes: Softspots (similar) | Bracelet: c/o Lifetherapy | Glasses: Derek Cardigan 7003 c/o

It was hot. That thick, steamy hot that happens before a summer thunderstorm. The kind of hot where you have to swim through the air to get to your destination. The kind of hot where there’s no point to do your hair, and no point to really try to pull together a fancy outfit. The kind of hot where you realize you did the same darn pose for every shot.  I recently got this dress from LOFT and was going to take to the tailor to hack of a couple inches for a more flattering length but it seemed pretty perfect for today and decided I could get it tailored after today. The dress is jersey, but the skirt is lined so it hangs nicely and won’t cling to my butt after getting all sweaty in a Metro “Hot Car.”  Cardigan is purely for office comfort and decorum, it was removed each time I left air conditioning.

My brown heeled sandals died in the hurricane and I have yet to get replacements. I think this outfit would have looked far better with some height, but then I think it’s just the wacky hemlength. And gosh darn it, these are the comfiest sandals I have ever owned and look forward to any opportunity to wear them. They’ll be going with me again to Forecastle (in TWO WEEKS!), they are THAT comfortable.

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33-Worthy Friday

Shirt: Gap | Jeans: NYDJ “Marilyn” | Shoes: Softspots (similar) | Scarf: Bambi 1 Square Zebra” c/o Nepali by TDM Designs | Bracelets: Silver cuff (similar), indigo bracelets c/o Lifetherapy

It’s Friday! When I got dressed this morning I was thinking more about the rain and wearing some shoes other than the black Cole Haan sandals I have worn for almost two weeks straight (those and these are the only shoes I can carry off with the hurt leg). After getting dressed I realized that this outfit is all pieces I would choose if I was doing Project 333 (details here). While the white jeans are a different pair (last year’s jeans fit but they look strange, too low rise and a bit too short in length too), everything else is something I would choose if I had to pare down to just 33 piece in my closet.

This scarf has become quite a favorite, and I can’t believe this is the first time it has been featured on the blog. If you know me in real life, you know I wear this scarf weekly. It’s a soft bamboo that has gorgeous drape, the cadet blue shade is quite versatile, and it just feels good around the throat. This is the type of scarf I would take on vacation; it would be a great wrap on a plane, a cool shawl with an LBD, and can even be tied around the swimsuit like a pareo. All that, and you’re doing good by buying a scarf from Nepali by TDM Design!

I am proud to have partnered with Nepali by TDM, a company that creates opportunities for poverty-stricken women to generate sustainable income in Nepal. They are also invested in a literacy and education campaign throughout the country. Nepali by TDM Design’s mission is to bring about social and economic change by allowing women to participate financially in their society. All their scarves are hand-made in Nepal from natural materials and eco-friendly, azo-free dyes. You’ll see int he coming months that the clothing and accessory companies I partner with are ones I admire for doing more than making pretty things. Be they companies who give back to the community, improve this world, or care about how and where their products are made, I am proud to give them some visibility. I’ve been working with Nepali by TDM Design for several months now, and find them to be sweet people who truly care about the world around them, and the scarves are fabulous quality and high on style.

UPDATE: If you too like Nepali by TDM Design scarves, they are offering all Wardrobe Oxygen readers 25% off with the code wardrobeoxygen.  Happy shopping!

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Festie Frame of Mind

Dress: Seafolly Saltwater Crush Maxi c/o | Necklace: Had forever (similar) | Sandals: Softspots | Sunglasses: Kentucky gas station (similar) | Bag: HOBO Bags (similar)

The weather is getting warmer, we’ve bought tickets for Forecastle and Americanarama and I can’t help but be in a festie frame of mind. InStyle Swimwear was kind enough to send me this fabulous tie-dye maxi dress from Seafolly and I just KNOW it will be worn to at least one festival or outdoor concert this summer! Lightweight cotton, comfortable, and adjustable straps to boot! I was also thinking it would look cute with my denim shirt tied over it, and I also liked it cinched with a vintage brown leather belt (expect to see that combo on the blog later in the summer!).

Update on the hair: what I am doing to get it like this is I am applying Paul Mitchell Surf Spray and Rusk Thick on my hair, blowdrying it in a haphazard manner or letting it air dry.  I then put big sections in my curling iron, curling away from the face.  Finger comb, and then a bit more of the surf spray to have it piecey and messy and more casual.  So far, so good and it works well in the heat.

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Sunday: Weekend Warrior

Top: Ann Taylor
Shorts: Target, self-distressed using this video (similar)
Sandals: Softspots
Necklace: eBay (similar)
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, c/o Soft Surroundings
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Yesterday we had friends over for “church.” We had brunch which extended into dinner which went into a post-dinner walk which ended up being a beer at our neighborhood cafe. I picked up this sweater at Ann Taylor last week during the Friends and Family event – I had admired it online in orange, but when I tried it on in the store it just looked a mess. I decided to try it in this color, and by accident picked up a Medium. Going down a size was exactly what this top needed! I can see myself wearing it with white jeans, and come fall with a pair of vintage denim, or with ivory trousers and pearls.

And for those who keep asking me to show my “natural” hair, here it is in all its glory. I showered the night prior, added some Frizz-Ease Sheer while wet and went to sleep. In the morning I gently brushed out the tangled ends and left as-is.  The more humid the day, the better it behaves au naturel. 

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